Field Promotion

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Vegetius, Dec 27, 2005.

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  1. I know it's the stuff of old "Commando" comic books, when Pte Snooks is the last heroic member of the patrol left standing and the CO anoints him with the muzzle of his Webley and makes him a Sgt, but in the real world has this ever happened?

    I'm assuming that in massive conflicts (WW1/ WW2/ Korea etc) when casualties were high that it was an operational imperative to create new NCOs and officers, but nowadays can a CO just promote somebody to satsify an operational imperative or simply because the soldier concerned has performed extremely well in the field? What rank is the army allowed to promote to and are field commissions feasible if not actually practice?


  2. I believe the term is acting, or "Brevet"-rank?

    I know the CO can just give you you're first stripe (hence PJ NCOs courses are unit-run internally, not by Warminster or wherever else).
  3. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

  4. I believe any CO can make someone up in rank through the grant of local or acting rank. I also believe it is possible for him/her to commission someone (although nowadays this has to be ratified by an army district board & Maj. Gen.).

    this, however be somewhat out of date....
  5. Jim Almonds, former wartime RSM of the SAS was commissioned in the field by Montgomery I believe (slightly hazy memory)
  6. A booty got his full screw in some battle in Dubya Dubya Two. Something to do with him Taking over when his Section Commander bought it during an assault on some Machine guns. Went on to take a few MG positions then set up a 5 man Ambush on a German Resupply Convoy. Think he got the DSM or DCM or something too!
  7. Yes you can get promoted 'in the field' but it doesn't really happen these days. It was used a lot in WW1 and 2 because of heavy casualty figures and they needed to keep a semblance of structure and authority.

    Being commissioned from the ranks always required some sort of formal instruction at RMAS but similiar to what I'd previously said, some sgts and above got accelerated because of the shortage of subalterns in the two wars. Mostly down to the fact that subalterns were out front waving a riding crop and looking like subalterns.

    I remember a quote by Gen John Strawson from his memoirs of fighting in the Western Desert in 1940 which went something like; "The Irish Hussars went into battle with their Cornets riding on top of the turrets of their tanks, beating the sides with their riding crops. A practice only curtailed by the ever diminishing number of available Cornets"
  8. My father was awarded an immediate battlefield commission in Italy 1944 after his involvement in two actions within a period of 15 days.

    As a 23 year old WO11 he received the MM for an action at Monte Casino. Two weeks later, he took over command of a company during a Battalion daylight attack across open ground, swept by machinegun fire, when both the OC and 2 I/C were wounded and the remaining company subalterns were too inexperienced.
  9. Was your father then shipped back to RMAS for instruction? At any point?
  10. No. Shortly after that, he was wounded in another action. At some time or other, I believe he did a “Knife & Fork” course as it was called then. He retired about 1958.

    Both actions were well documented. I makes for interesting reading!
  11. My late father, a former wartime S/Sgt in the GPR, was the Intelligence Sergeant in 13 Para in 1953 and given a field promotion to Lt by a visiting general during an exercise. A year later he was promoted to Captain and finally retired as Major. At no time did he ever attend RMAS.

    Attached Files:

  12. Whilst googling to confirm something I remembered, I came across this
    Sorry it only partly updates the thread but read it and weep at what we seem to have lost.
    This is something that comes from Beevor
    Sorry Veg if this starts them off down the wrong track.
  13. We had an officer attached to our unit who had substantial rank of Lt, was given local rank of Captain by our CO: a decision which the Brigade Commander overturned.

    Out of courtesy, he continued to be referred to as Captain X, even though he'd been ordered to put his Lt's rank slides back on.

    In Richard Holmes' Tommy, there's an account of an officer who was, I think, substantial Captain, brevet-Lt-Col, and acting Major-General. WWI, obviously.

  14. That's certainly an unusual case.
  15. IIRC an officer in 2 PARA was promoted to Capt in the field at Goose Green to take over as Adj.